Hurray! School is out for summer. Time for a slower pace and lots of fun in the sun. But what happens on rainy days, or at those moments you realize the kids’ brains are turning to mush, or on the mornings you hear those dreaded words, “Moooooooommmmm, I’m bored!” No need for those worries. We’ve got you covered with tons of ideas for family fun in Tally this summer. Enjoy this list, share it with friends and comment below with your ideas too. Happy Summer!
Summer Learning with WFSUIntergalactic Odyssey is the theme for this year’s WFSU Summer Challenge, an annual online and offline “competition” that encourages families to engage with educational PBS KIDS content and Tallahassee’s awesome free community resources. Each year we celebrate the launch of the Challenge with a Kick-Off Event during which families can register and receive their Community Classroom Consortium “Passport to Adventure” and checklists. Families who aren’t committed to completing the challenge are also welcome to come and celebrate summer learning with us!
This year’s Kick Off event is scheduled for June 8th, 2019, with a location to be determined. This is one of WFSU’s biggest annual events, and is always a major hit with families returning year after year to engage in our Summer Challenge! Please follow us on Facebook for more information as the summer approaches!
Leon County Public Library
From book clubs to science workshops to storytimes to music sessions and lots more, there is something happening for kids of all ages at the library all summer long. Choose the calendar that’s right for your kids and give them the gift of reading and fun learning programs this summer. All library programs are free and open to the public.
Leon County Humane Society Pawsitive Readers
Volunteer opportunities start at 5 years of age and duties range from hands on kitty care to Pawsitive Readers to adoption and outreach events!
A few years ago we shared about Bedtime Math on our Family Blog. Sign up for free and a math word problem will hit your inbox daily in the evening. During dinner or at bedtime, you can work on it with your kids. There are various levels of questions associated with the content sent each evening so a variety of ages can participate. The question itself always teaches about a new topic indirectly. For example, an animal, a scientific fact, a place in the world… It’s an easy, free, prompt for daily educational conversation between you and your kids. Plus, Bedtime Math has become so popular they have now expanded to offer math clubs and more. We love the books too!
Energy Camp is led by our team of interns and volunteers with a focus on Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) as the curriculum. It is for grades 3-6 and focuses on issues such as impacts from fossil fuel usage and options with renewable energy. Children learn to make a solar oven, fix their bikes, create solar bugs, and more. The camp recognizes and teaches about energy issues beyond electrical consumption; for instance, the camp addresses the ties between energy and food, energy and water, and energy and transportation. The campers also go on multiple field trips such as traveling to local farms to talk about the importance and sustainability of growing their own food. Children are given hands-on experience in urban planning as we look at various forms of alternative transportation, and the planning required for cities to support them.Participants will engage in hands-on, experimental activities related to renewable energy solutions, depletion of fossil fuels, and climate change. Activities include: • How to make a Solar Oven
• Creating your own Solar Bug
• Fixing Bikes
• Growing your own Food Cost: $160 per session (scholarships are available)
Location: United Church of Tallahassee, 1834 Mahan Dr Tallahassee, FL 32308 Website | Contact
Running around, climbing, sliding and swinging at the playground never seems to get old for kids of all ages. You probably have your favorites around town. This summer, take some time to check out some new playgrounds, making a day of it with a picnic and friends in tow.
Our Playground Connection has details for over 15 local playgrounds, including features, a map and more. Visit them all this summer!
Summer Concert Series
Visit the Tallahassee Museum ten times and you still may not discover all there is to see.
Set amidst 52 acres of breathtaking Florida flora and fauna, the Tallahassee Museum has served as an iconic Tallahassee landmark for more than 50 years. Ranked as one of Florida’s top museums, the Museum’s living exhibits of native Florida wildlife, nature trails and native gardens are renowned by visitors of all ages. The Museum encourages guests to discover and learn about North Florida’s natural environment, rich history and diverse cultural communities.
From amazing native animals and rare historic buildings to beautiful natural scenery to exciting public programs, special events, and educational programs, there’s something here for everyone.
Have kids that can’t get enough of the Tallahassee Museum? Check out their terrific Summer Camp program.
Tree to Tree Adventures
Zip through the tree-tops, soar through the cypress swamp, and conquer aerial games and obstacles on one of our Tallahassee Tree to Tree Adventures courses at the Tallahassee Museum.
Zip lining at the Tallahassee Museum is such a great time for everyone in the family and kids can’t help but feel so proud as they complete their course, having had a blast every step, swing and jump of the way from start to finish.
Learn more about Tree to Tree Adventures courses here.
Green Meadows Farm
Blueberry picking at Green Meadows Farm is one of our most favorite summer activities to share about. This summer, opening day for u-pick is Friday, June 3rd.
Contact | (850) 997-4886
Have you been to Wakulla Berries yet this summer? Their blackberries are so delicious and the picking is super easy. Our family of four picked over four pounds in just under an hour, and we were in no rush at all. Picking season is from about mid June through mid July and this year the berries are plentiful, large and juicy. Upon arriving at Wakulla Berries, simply grab a container from the ones provided and head out to start picking. You’ll pay on your way out, and, if you’re like us, start munching away on the way home.
Big Easy Snowballs and Lake Ella
As if Lake Ella … with it’s turtles and ducks, outdoor markets, fountain, beautiful views and walking paths, great picnic spots, open spaces to run and toss a ball, shady gazebo and more wasn’t enough … now Big Easy Snowballs calls Lake Ella home. Kids will love trying the endless combinations of flavors at Big Easy Snowballs for a fun treat again and again all summer long, and then running off their new found energy at Lake Ella.
Visit Big Easy Snowballs online for hours, location, flavors and more.
Lake Hall & Maclay Gardens
Maclay Garden’s Lake Hall is definitely a summertime must-do in Tallahassee. Entry to the park is only $6 per vehicle. The lake is fun for swimming in and for an easy and scenic canoe/kayak ride. Canoes/kayaks are available to rent for around $20, four hours at a time. Covered pavilions are available for cooking out and picnicking and there are also uncovered picnic tables all around the park. A playground is easily accessible as well, with swings and slides and climbing fun for kids. Check out this complete list of activities available at Maclay Gardens State Park. For a day at Lake Hall, just pack like you’re headed to the beach for the day and your family will have a fantastic time.
Contact | (850) 487-4556
Talking Trees at Bear Creek
Last summer we shared on our Family Blog about a day trip to Lake Talquin State Forest, where we discovered and thoroughly explored Bear Creek Educational Forest. We packed a picnic, our bikes, some outdoor games and activities and we were off. We visited on a Sunday afternoon so the classrooms were closed, but we had full access to picnic pavilions, clean restrooms, the hiking trail with ‘Talking Trees’ and plenty of expansive outdoor space. Read our previous post with lots of great pictures here.
Bear Creek Educational Forest is a 492-acre tract of Lake Talquin State Forest. Programs are FREE for any public or private school group, Scout Troop, daycare, or any other youth organization. Each program option may include a lesson, game, and hands-on activity in the forest. An interpretive hike and souvenir craft to make and take home may also be included. The Bear Creek Tract also offers hiking and camping opportunities as well as the audio enhanced Living Forest trail where the trees tell their own stories. A list of the Florida Sunshine State Standards addressed in each program is available upon request.
- Air-conditioned classroom with seating for 60 students
- Three nature trails ranging in length, including a paved “talking tree” trail and arboretum
- Picnic shelter where students can eat lunch
- Restrooms and drinking fountains
- Full-time staff available to guide FREE programs
Tallahassee’s park, Cascades, is beautiful. Spend a day there or visit again and again, enjoying a different area of the park each time. There’s so much to take in at Cascades. Kids will love splashing in Imagination Fountain and don’t miss the light shows in the evenings. Programmed to music and lights, the fountain performs a magnificent, repeating, seven-minute show beginning at dusk.
The playground area with a slide and sand and water feature is great fun for kids of all ages. The picnic tables and benches around the park are great for stopping to relax and enjoy. The walking paths are perfect for biking, skating and more. Plus, each visit is an opportunity to teach your kids something new with Historical Features and informative signs all around the park.
Learn more about Cascades here.
Lafayette Heritage Trail Park Bridge
To literally bridge a gap in the network and safely connect the City’s Lafayette Heritage Trail Park and Leon County’s J.R. Alford Greenway, the City of Tallahassee built this new and beautiful pedestrian bridge over the CSX railroad tracks. The project provides a safe, vital link in the Tallahassee Greenway and Trail System while preserving trees, creating scenic vistas and building a structure in harmony with a natural setting.
Crossing this bridge just doesn’t get old. From the top you can look out on the water and view wildlife, including alligators. It’s thrilling to be on the bridge as the train goes by beneath you. Seeing the tops of the huge trees along the hiking trails is breathtaking. Whether you’re running, walking, hiking, biking, bringing your four legged friends outdoors or slowly exploring the area, visiting the new bridge area is now a local must-do.
There are plenty of wide open spaces before and after the bridge for kids to run and play. Learn about locating the bridge and more when you read the previous blog post published after our first family visit to this area. The post includes lots of great pictures too.
Feed the Turtles at Tom Brown
The list of fun activities you can enjoy at Tom Brown is endless. From a huge playground with everything a kid could ever want to climb, swing, slide or run on to a dirt track bike course to remote control car racing track to a frisbee golf course to dog parks to wildlife to explore from bridges and walking paths around lakes to hiking trails to tennis courts and more. Like we said, endless.
The smaller playground toward the back of the park behind the dog parks and lake area is great for a shade and a smaller, less crowded setting when the big blue playground gets too hectic. We always enjoy playing there for a bit and then walking the bridges with some lettuce pieces in hand to throw to the turtles and fish below. One little piece hits the water and moments later you’re surrounded by ten or more turtles of varying sizes and fish too. It’s a great spot to capture some beautiful pictures of your kiddos running up and down the bridge paths, and there are tons of opportunities for outdoor learning as you explore together.
Learn more about Tom Brown Park here.
Lake Jackson Mounds
More than eight centuries ago, Native Americans inhabited the area around Lake Jackson, just north of Tallahassee. The park site was part of what is now known as the Southeastern Ceremonial Complex. Today the park encompasses four earthen temple mounds, with two available for viewing by the public. The largest mound is 278 feet by 312 feet at the base and approximately 36 feet in height. The village at the base of these mounds was a cultural, religious and population center in 1100-1200 AD.
Trails offer visitors a chance to hike within the park. The interpretive trail passes remnants of Florida’s Territorial Period and early statehood (1825-1860) when the land was part of a large plantation owned by Colonel Robert Butler. The remains of an 1800s grist mill may be seen along the trail. The nature trail winds through a sandhill community, passing many native trees and plants.
Picnic tables are located within view of the two largest mounds. A pavilion is available for gatherings and other special occasions. Guided tours are available upon request. Lake Jackson offers numerous opportunities for wildlife viewing and bird watching as well.
The park is open from 8:00 a.m. until sundown, 365 days a year. Learn More
St. Marks Trail & Boundless Playground
Let your kiddos walk along the old railroad tracks and hang on the bars at the start of the track and then walk or bike down the trail for some exercise. Then, hop back in the car for a quick ride and find your way to the Boundless Playground, one of the most fun playgrounds around town.
Explore Parks & Trails
Tallahassee is home to some of the most beautiful parks and trails. With such easy access to so many great outdoor spaces your family can enjoy exploring and learning about nature, exercising in the fresh air and discovering new places and adventures together all summer long. View a complete list of local parks and trails here and explore them all.
Water Sports at the FSU Reservation
Canoeing, kayaking, paddle boarding, swimming and more… Just $2 per person to enter the reservation and $10 for rental of water sports equipment. There are also picnic tables and pavilions, ping pong, sand volleyball and more in addition to the water sports activities. There are college kids hanging out here of course, but also family friendly. The Rez offers a wonderful outdoor camp for kids ages 8 and up also, called Camp Flastacowo. Learn more about The Rez in general here and the camp programs here.
Location | 3226 Flastacowo Road
Contact | 850-644-6892
The Club at Killearn Lakes Swim Lessons
Let’s learn to swim! Frank and Susan Bradley have over 45 years of combined experience in teaching children how to swim. Using repetition, consistency and encouragement, children learn to relax, swim efficiently and be safe in and around the water. Private lessons are 5 sessions of 30 minutes each. People of all ages are welcome. From baby, beginner to advanced.
Age: 12 months+
Cost: $175 members ($185 non-members)
Location: The Club at Killearn Lakes, 8050 Deerlake East, Tallahassee, Florida 32312
Time: Mornings, 8-11am. Afternoons, 4-7pm. 30 minute sessions, Monday through Friday.
Community Pools & Tot Time at Trousdell Aquatics Center
Throughout the summer months on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 9am to 11am, it’s Tot Time at the Trousdell Aquatics Center Activity Pool, for kids age 5 and under. The activity pool has a slide and play equipment, splash areas, shallow water, small fountains and jets and more. There are lifeguards on duty and the area is only open to little ones during this time. Lots of fun.
Fee | $4 per person; cash and checks only.
Location | 298 John Knox Road
Note | No outside food, beverage or flotation devices are permitted.
Contact | 850.891.4901
What’s not to love about this awesome new water playscape for local kiddos? Splashing fun, other kids to play with, a lights show in the evenings, a beautiful park to explore after fun in the fountain… Imagination Fountain is tons of fun!
The fountain, which features 73 jets, randomly shoots filtered water into the air, wetting even the most suspecting children. Once your little ones have had enough fun, they can change into dry clothes in the public changing rooms right next to the fountain area.
While the fountain offers a fun way to cool off in the daytime, it’s equally cool at night. After dark, Imagination Fountain is not only a water feature, it’s a show! Programmed to music and lights, the fountain performs a magnificent, repeating, seven-minute show beginning at dusk.
Birthday parties are definitely welcome at Imagination Fountain and throughout the park! Space is available on a first come first serve basis. Grills are not allowed in the Fountain or Amphitheater areas and vehicles may not enter the park. Also, don’t forget to check out the event calendar to make sure there is not an event conflicting your party date.
You can always call 891-3816 to check a date as well.
For the most up-to-date information regarding Cascades Park, connect with us on Facebook.
Joy of Motion with The Tallahassee Ballet School
The Tallahassee Ballet School’s Summer Dance Camps provide a memorable experience for young dancers. Campers will be enchanted by music, ballet, creative movement, tumbling, drama, costumes & props. Students will showcase their skills in a brief performance at the end of the week. (30-minute grace period for drop off and pick up.)
Times: 9 a.m. – Noon
July 8-12 – Frozen Camp – (Ages 3-4 years; Ages 5-7 years)
July 15-19 – The Greatest Showman Camp – (Ages 3-4 years; Ages 5-7 years)
July 22-26 – Aladdin Camp – (Ages 3-4 years; Ages 5-7 years)
July 29-August 2 – Mary Poppins Camp –(Ages 3-4 years; Ages 5-7 years)
August 5-9 – Ballet Storybook Camp – (Ages 7-8 years)
Contact: email@example.com or 850-224-6917 ext: 23
Firefly Pottery is your one-stop shop for creative pottery, glass and mosaic art. We provide you with the materials and you take home a personal masterpiece. People of all ages can enjoy quality time with family and friends, in a laid back atmosphere, creating not just art but memories that go with it.
Firefly Pottery also offers a summer camp.
Location | 1415 Timberlane Road Ste #311 in Market Square
Contact | (850) 727-4986
Kids Bowl Free & Kids Skate Free
Tallahassee Rock Gym
Providing Tallahassee, and the surrounding communities, with a place to learn and practice the sport of indoor rock climbing. Located inside a historic railroad warehouse, our walls reach 32 feet high and offer challenges for beginners and experienced climbers alike.
On Saturdays and Sundays parents belaying 2 or more kids receive a free harness rental.
We had our daughter’s 7th birthday party here and it was a HUGE success. The kids had a blast and each felt so proud when they made it to the top of the big wall. The staff is friendly and knowledgeable, and ensures each climbers safety.
Location | 629-F Industrial Drive in Railroad Square
Contact | firstname.lastname@example.org / 850-224-ROCK (7625)
Summer Track Series
Each year, Gulf Winds Track Club teams up with Tallahassee Parks and Recreation to host the eight-week Summer Track Series. It takes place at the Maclay High School track, always beginning on the first Thursday evening in June. Runners of all ages are asked to arrive no later than 6:45 p.m. There are opportunities for runners of all ages and abilities to enjoy running a variety of distances. There are no “requirements” for participation in the track series. It is free and open to the public. Runners do not have to be fast or be a member of GWTC to participate. Anyone with a “need for speed” or just a “need for fun” is welcome!
Tallahassee Youth Triathlon Series
There are two events left for this season’s Tallahassee Youth Triathlon Series. Whether your child is new to the concept of a kids’ triathlon, or has participated in previous years, we aim to make it a fun, learning experience. No prior triathlon experience is necessary. Learn more about these events and how to register your kids here.
Gulf Specimen Marine Lab
Visiting the marine lab is highly educational and so much fun for kids. Kids can explore the touch tanks, holding starfish, horse shoe crabs, sand dollars and so much more. The Gulf Specimen Marine Lab is located in Panacea. Whenever we visit we always pack a picnic and make a day of it. There is a small playground and docks nearby where you can enjoy outdoor playtime and a picnic before or after visiting the marine lab. Depending on where you’re leaving from in Tally, the Gulf Specimen Marine Lab is about 45 minutes away.
Upon entering and paying for admission, you’ll receive the informative welcome, letting you know what’s available to see and how to keep the animals safe while we are holding them. You’ll also learn what you can touch and what you cannot. Head through the doors to the marine lab and wash your hands before touching the animals.
The first area you enter has five or more open, shallow tanks, full of interesting creatures. Above each tank are boards that have pictures and descriptions of the creatures living below to help you learn about what you are seeing and touching. My kids always get busy right away, picking up sea slugs, sea urchins, starfish, crabs, sponges, corral and lot’s more. Beyond the touch tank area there are more tanks that are not for touching, with animals such as stingrays, various fish, an octopus and and more.
Next up is the outdoor area which begins with the fiddler crab boat. This large boat sits on the sandy ground and contains a display of thousands of fiddler crabs all crawling around and piling on top of each other. You are free to hold them, if you can catch one. Then comes the large tanks outside. When we were there last, one contained a nurse shark which also swam right up to us. The other contained a rescued sea turtle. Allie was so cool to watch. The marine lab staff were able to rehabilitate Allie last summer and we actually joined them to watch her release!
Last but not least was the horseshoe crab home where many horseshoe crabs, of all different sizes, were swimming around and resting in the sand. We learned that these animals have been around, unchanged, since before the dinosaurs. Apparently they help us test our pharmaceuticals with a 95% accuracy rating. They use their tales to stay right side up and you are welcome to pick one up to explore it’s unique form, if you dare.
Wear old clothes and closed shoes. You’re going to get wet and smelly and sweaty and sandy and messy….but all in the name of fun and adventure.
About | The Gulf Specimen Marine lab is a not for profit, working to study, research, publish, teach and display for all, the knowledge of marine biology. They work to promote protection of marine life and the marine environment, as well as to collect, classify and disseminate marine biological specimens.
Location | 222 Clark Drive Panacea, FL 32346
Chehaw Wild Animal Park
With over 700 acres of pristine, conservation land and a wild animal park dedicated to education, Chehaw is a unique attraction for South Georgia. Being one of the only two accredited zoos in Georgia, aside from Zoo Atlanta, Chehaw continues to be devoted to the three areas it was founded on: conservation, preservation and education.
From the Wild Animal Park to the endless recreational opportunities, Chehaw has an activity for every visitor. Come see what nature’s playground has to offer you.
Location | 105 Chehaw Park Rd. Albany, GA 31701
Wakulla Springs & Boat Tours
We love the boat tours at Wakulla Springs. They are guided by a park ranger, who helps you to spot the native wildlife. On our last ride we saw many kinds of birds, including our favorite, the blue heron, as well as fish jumping out of the water, turtles and alligators sunning on logs and manatees floating and slowly gliding along the water’s surface. The information we learned from the park ranger about the history of the river and the wildlife living there was very interesting and refreshed our appreciation for our native surroundings. We really are so lucky to live in Tallahassee where our community and it’s surrounding areas have an abundance of beautiful nature, readily accessible, to enjoy and learn from.
When visiting Wakulla Springs, there are many activities to enjoy. There are plenty of picnic tables and pavilions to have a picnic or cookout at, as well as lot’s of open space to play sports. There are hiking trails too. When you’re ready to cool off you can go swimming in the spring and play in the sand. There are docks to walk and even jump off of and climb back up on to. There’s even a diving platform, high up in the air, with a lifeguard on duty, to jump way down to the river from for the dare devils.
Plan to arrive well before the time you wish to depart on your tour in order to ensure your reservation on the boat, especially on the weekends. The river boat tours are very popular.
Contact | (850) 561-7276
Travel to Valdosta, Georgia, for a wild time. Here’s a recap from our visit last summer…
When we entered the park, we started on the “dry side” with the rides such as the carousel and kid friendly roller coasters. There were plenty of rides that suited younger children, similar to those you find at our annual North Florida Fair in Tallahassee. Ride by ride, we made our way closer and closer to the “wet side”. By the time we arrived at the water park area, we were so ready to cool down. It seemed to be 10 degrees hotter in Georgia!
We purchased a locker for our bags and changed in to our bathing suits. We had a quick bite to eat (nothing special) and then we were off to the lazy river. We floated in the inner tubes they provided down and around the lazy river together. After that we braved the wave pool and then headed to the slides and activity area. The kids had an absolute blast for over two hours in this part of the park. There were two big water slides and some smaller ones too. Lifeguards were on duty to help with the slides. There was plenty of pool-side seating to watch the kids play, although it was pretty crowded so we stayed close to the kids. The kids would have stayed there all day.
Once we had decided we had enough sun and splashing fun for the day, we all got dressed again and headed out for the park. On the way back to the front we saw a few animals and hit up a few more kiddie rides. The grand finale was the free range wildlife train ride where we saw lot’s of animals…elephants, giraffes, deer and more, up close and personal.
The kids each picked up a small gift in the shop on the way out and then we were headed back home. It was an exhausting 12 hour day in all, but overall worth the trip to get out and do something different for a day, having a wild adventure.
St. George Island & Other Beach Spots
St. George beach is so beautiful. There are lot’s of little “mini beaches” between Tallahassee and St. George, but to me, St. George is perfection with white, fluffy sand to run in and build sand castles with, sea shells to collect in buckets and wavy blue/green water to swim in and be taken away by.
At about a two and a half hour car ride from Tallahassee, it’s not exactly right around the corner, but still close enough to make a day of it. Pack a picnic but beware of the seagulls. They’ll steal whole sandwiches right from your hands! Instead of trying to eat on the beach, you can head over to the covered pavilion with six or more picnic tables under it and enjoy a seagull free (mostly) lunch there. In the same area of the covered pavilion there is a bathroom facility which makes drying off and changing a breeze. Everything you need is accessible to spend a fun and easy day at the beach.
Contact | (850) 927-2111
Hours | The park is open from 8:00 a.m. until sundown, 365 days a year.
Fees | $6.00 per vehicle. Limit 2-8 people per vehicle. See more about fees.
Other Beach Spots
Along the way to St. George you can also try visiting Carrabelle Beach, Alligator Point and Dog Island. Learn more about these here. For other beach spots near Tallahassee, you can also try Shell Point Beach, Rosemary Beach and Mexico Beach.
A trip to Wacissa Springs from Tallahassee is only about 30 minutes. We visited last summer and found there are picnic tables, a boat ramp where lot’s of people were taking off in their kayaks and canoes and boats, as well as a beautiful spring full of kids swimming and having a blast swinging from a rope tied to a huge oak, and jumping in. The water was pretty chilly but the lure of the tiny minnows swimming all around us in the shallow water urged the kids to get in anyways and have fun splashing around.
If you’re interested in a tour of the area, you can call 850.997.2324 to make arrangements with a certified green guide. Canoes and kayaks are available for rent or you’re welcome to bring your own.
Learn more about other activities to enjoy in Monticello.
St. Marks Wildlife Refuge
Visiting the St. Marks Wildlife Refuge is always fun for outdoor time. Bring your binoculars and cameras and walk the path spotting wildlife and interesting plants, exploring the area. Have a picnic at the table at the end of the path before exploring the shore below. Explore the lighthouse too. Stop by Nature’s Classroom on the way in or out. Check out the butterfly garden. Stop at a secluded bench for animal and nature viewing. Have an adventure.
Visiting any day is fun, but you can also plan to go for regularly scheduled events such as Tots on Trails and Families in Nature throughout the month. View a calendar of events here.
The Refuge occupies 70,000 acres along 45 miles of coastline, south of Tallahassee, Florida. The area has a rich cultural history going back about 15,000 years. Continue reading…
Location | 1255 Lighthouse Rd, St Marks, FL 32355
Contact | 850-925-6121
Florida Caverns State Park
This is one of the few state parks with dry (air-filled) caves and is the only state park in Florida to offer cave tours to the public. The cave has dazzling formations of limestone stalactites, stalagmites, soda straws, flowstones and draperies.
Guided cave tours are offered Thursday through Monday except Thanksgiving and Christmas (no cave tours on Tuesday and Wednesday). The tour lasts 35-40 minutes and is considered to be moderately strenuous.
An audiovisual program about touring the cave and other natural areas of the park is available.
Please be aware our cave tours sometimes sell out. Call our Ranger Station prior to departing for the park to ensure that all tours have not sold out for that day, (850)482-1228.
Location | 3345 Caverns Road Marianna, Florida 32446
Contact | (850) 482-9598
Fees | Entry: $5.00 per vehicle. Limit 2-8 people per vehicle / Cave Tour: $8.00 per person, age 13 and older, $5.00 per child, 3 to 12, free, 2 and younger.
Garbage Bag Walk
Save your paper bags or grab a few extra next time you’re at the grocery store. Let your kiddos decorate the bags and label them “Garage” and “Recycle”. Put your bags in a wagon or on a stroller and set out on a walk to clean up your neighborhood or your favorite park or outdoor area in town. Lots of great built in lessons to discuss along the way … keeping our earth clean, living green, having pride in your neighborhood and community, helping others …
Maybe you have the perfect tree, the time and the skills to build a designer tree house right in your own backyard. Even if you don’t though, building an outdoor fort or tent or canopy or tree house of some sort can be hours and hours of great fun for kids. The creative process will be brain building for them and when more than one child is involved, teamwork skills will be put into action too.
We as parents need not be professional gardeners to make gardening fun for kids. Kids of all ages can enjoy a fun summer project, planting their own seeds, caring for them daily and watching them grow. You can talk about living things versus non living things, how the living plants are similar to living human beings and how they are different and what living things need to survive and thrive. You can measure and chart the growth of your child’s plants, and compare this info to a growth chart of your child. Kids can take pictures of the various stages of their plant’s growth and make a book with the pictures. Maybe your child can even grow something edible and you can celebrate their success with a family meal from your garden. There are tons of ideas for backyard classroom time. Just let your imagination (or Pinterest) lead you to the fun!
Pet Sitting & Foster Care
Have a child who’s set on having their own pet? Perhaps you have neighbors or friends who could use a pet sitter over the summer. This may be a nice way to learn the responsibilities of pet ownership for your child.
There is also a great need for foster care for animals in our town. Several local pet rescue organizations have foster programs, for example, Last Hope Rescue, is always looking for foster homes for the animals they save from shelters each month.
Who doesn’t love lemonade in the summertime? Kids can have fun and learn all kinds of lessons while planning for and setting up their very own lemonade stand. From deciding where to donate any money collected to making signs and banners for their stand, to inviting neighborhood friends to come and visit their stand, to making the lemonade, being careful to measure and count according to a recipe they’ve researched and read for themselves. Oh, the tons and tons of hidden lessons in this classic summer fun activity are endless.
On Pinterest there are tons of ideas for sidewalk chalk activities and also ideas for making your own liquid sidewalk chalk which is fun. Want to keep your fun color free? Give your kids a bowl of water with ice cubes in it and some thick paint brushes. Let them dip the brushes in to the icy cold water and then paint their deigns on the sidewalk. How long before the design fades away in the hot summer sun? How long before the ice in the bowl melts? Does it melt faster on the sidewalk or in the bowl of water? What happens when you mix in some food coloring? Can you make your handprints and footprints on the sidewalk? Lot’s of fun!
Let your kids pick their favorites ideas for exercising and plan to set aside 15 minutes of exercise time every day. Help them explore fun and different ideas for exercising … hop scotch, jump rope, swimming. Let them be your coach and teach you how to do their very own exercise plan. They’ll love seeing mom and dad follow along with their plans, and this will empower them. Talk about health and wellness ideas.
It’s good to have a goal and work towards it anytime of the year. Since summer break from school has a definite start and end date, it’s an easy period of time to create a goal and plan out the steps to achieve it by the end of summer. Learn how to ride a bike, read an entire chapter book, learn how to cook a family meal, make a new friend… Help your child brainstorm a goal and map out a plan to succeed. This skill of goal setting and planning for success will serve them well in the future.
Smoothies & Popsicles
How many combinations of yummy summertime fruit and yogurt and juices can you mix together to make flavors of smoothies and popsicles all summer long? Maybe your kids can test a new recipe each week and vote on their favorites by the end of the summer. Maybe the family can come together for a once a week taste test with prizes for the yummiest recipes. Kids will learn healthy eating habits along the way, using fresh fruit to make their creations.
Give your kids a camera and let them go wild making their very own Summer Fun Photo Album. Underwater cameras are fun for this activity too. Everyone in the family will enjoy looking through the book at the end of summer to see what fun has been had and to reminisce about the great new memories you’ve made together.
Become an Author
Using pictures taken, or memories from a summer trip you’ve taken or a summer activity you’ve enjoyed together, kids can become an author, making their very own books. The books become great keepsakes to remember the fun, years and years later. Making books can also be a great way to help a child through a difficult situation or new situation. Dentist appointments, meeting new family members, starting a new camp or starting a new school year … these are all topics for great books, and by making them together you and your child can discuss their concerns and worries, plus all the fun stuff too.
Ice Block Treasure Chest
Let your kids have the run of the house, in and out, to collect small items that can get wet. Discuss with them, or have them make a chart, to show which items they predict will sink and float. Fill a large bowl or container with water and let them test their theories. Then, place the entire thing in to your freezer for 24 hours or more. The next day, let your kids rescue their toys and treasures from the ice they’re trapped in by using hammers and others items to break the ice apart. This is best to do outside and be sure to use caution to make sure your kid’s eyes are protected from flying ice, etc.
Summer Movie Express
Admission to the Summer Movie Express is only $1. Tickets available for purchase at the box office and all movies start at 10:00 am. Each week both movies play on both days. A portion of the proceeds goes to the Will Rogers Institute.
Splurge on a hot summer day on a flight of nanos at Lofty. They’re only $1 each, and just the right size for little hands. Plus, with games and toys and countless flavors, it’s fun to go back again and again. Have you ever been to Lofty to watch them make candy? Lot’s of fun!
Leap Frogz is an indoor facility with bounce houses for the kids to jump around in. Check out their Facebook page here to learn more and to see pictures. They are located at 336 W Jackson Street in Thomasville. Call ahead for hours and admission pricing at (229) 233-8032.
Challenger Learning Center
Check out the many regular programs available at the Challenger Learning Center, learn how to enjoy a visit any day or catch a movie on the HUGE screen.
Fill a Bag at The Sharing Tree
The Sharing Tree is a terrific place to find great things for crafting, teaching and more. With tons of interesting things to look through, including books and so much more, it’s fun for kids to explore. With the awesome fill a bag for $5 deal always available at The Sharing Tree, kids can have a blast with just a few bux, while helping to support our local resource center, and finding things to come home and play/create/learn with.
How many of our local museums have you explored with your kids. Learn about all of them on our Museum Connection and set out to explore them one by one this summer.